It looks as though Ant-Man & the Wasp may be set closer to Avengers: Infinity War than we'd previously believed. In fact, it's even possible that the titular heroes were actually taking on the Ghost at the same the Avengers were battling Thanos in Wakanda.
Up until Phase 3, the MCU timeline was fairly easy to follow, with each movie released in sequence. Phase 3 started mixing things up, though. Black Panther and Spider-Man: Homecoming were set shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was based in 2014, and next year's Captain Marvel will take place in the '90s. The precise timing of Ant-Man & the Wasp has been unknown up till now - the film clearly takes place sometime after Civil War - but just how much time has passed for Scott Lang? On our set visit, Marvel insiders were deliberately vague about the film's timing, refusing to give anything away. Of course, that just makes things more curious.
Surprisingly, the evidence is building that this film is happening shortly before Avengers: Infinity War - and possibly even at the same time.
Ant-Man & the Wasp is Two Years After Civil War
Scott Lang did get a mention in Avengers: Infinity War. The Avengers considered picking him up, but decided not to because he was under house arrest, committed to his family. That was certainly a reference to Lang's status quo at the beginning of Ant-Man & the Wasp, but viewers just assumed the Avengers hadn't kept up-to-date with the adventures of Marvel's smallest heroes. Then, on April 30, Marvel released a video advertising the imminent trailer for Ant-Man & the Wasp. It featured the stars of Infinity War asking one simple question: Where were Ant-Man and the Wasp during Avengers: Infinity War? While that was really just fun marketing, the implication was that the two movies could actually be concurrent.
The latest TV spot poked fun at Ant-Man's absence in Infinity War, but also featured an important line of dialogue. "Two years under house arrest," an FBI agent says to Scott. "You haven't had any contact with Hank or Hope, have you?"
If Scott's been under house arrest for two years, that means Ant-Man & the Wasp is set in 2018 - the same year as Avengers: Infinity War. There's no way that's not a deliberate decision on Marvel's part - placing the two movies very close to one another, possibly even side-by-side. There may have been a good reason Ant-Man and the Wasp didn't help against Thanos; they were trying to save the world from the Ghost at the exact same time.
What This Means for Ant-Man & the Wasp
If the two films are indeed concurrent, as seems to be the case, then it may make Ant-Man & the Wasp one of the most important films in the MCU to date. So far, Marvel seems to be desperately trying to avoid exploring the impact of Infinity War's cliffhanger ending. Even the TV shows seem reluctant to deal with Thanos's "snap," with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 5's finale ignoring it, and the next season not releasing until after Avengers 4. It had honestly begun to look as though no Marvel movies or TV shows would show us how the "snap" affected the rest of the world.
But if Ant-Man & the Wasp is actually concurrent with Avengers: Infinity War, then the "snap" could actually happen at any time. Partway through the film, even as the heroes struggle to deal with the threat of the Ghost, they could suddenly find themselves forced to watch as people around them crumbled to dust. That would make sense of a strange comment from Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo, who revealed that the narrative of Ant-Man & the Wasp is closely connected to their film. "From a plot standpoint," Joe Russo noted, "if there's any corollary, Ant-Man and the Wasp probably has some elements that stitch in." His brother Anthony chipped in with a humorous comment, "But we can't talk about that."
Right now, it looks certain that Ant-Man & the Wasp is set a lot closer to Avengers: Infinity War than we'd previously believed. But perhaps the most exciting possibility of all is that these two films are set at the same time and that the humorous and comedic Ant-Man sequel will take a dark and surprising turn.